Over the past decade, we’ve seen significant changes in the way Americans watch television. The rise of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video has led to a decrease in traditional cable and satellite TV subscriptions. So what changes can we expect to see in the next five years? Here are some trends to keep an eye on:
As a pastor, sermon preparation is an essential part of your role. It involves researching biblical texts, studying theological commentaries, and finding practical ways to apply scripture to everyday life. While these tasks are already challenging, the process can become even more daunting when you’re dealing with a creative block or a time crunch.
Fortunately, there’s a new tool available that can help pastors streamline their sermon preparation process: ChatGPT. ChatGPT is a powerful artificial intelligence language model that can generate human-like text based on the prompts you give it. Here are four ways that pastors can use ChatGPT to help with sermon preparation:
Generate ideas for sermon topics: If you’re struggling to come up with a topic for your next sermon, ChatGPT can help you generate ideas. Simply input a prompt such as “What are some relevant sermon topics for young adults?” and let the AI model generate ideas based on current trends, issues, and common concerns of young adults.
Get a fresh perspective on a topic: ChatGPT can also help you gain a fresh perspective on a topic you’ve already chosen for your sermon. For example, if you’ve decided to preach on a specific Bible passage, input the verse and ask ChatGPT for insights and interpretations you may not have considered. This can help you expand your understanding of the passage and present it in a new and insightful way to your congregation.
Create sermon outlines and main points: Once you have a topic, ChatGPT can help you create an outline and main points for your sermon. Input the topic and ask ChatGPT for ideas on how to structure your message. The AI model can suggest main points, illustrations, and practical applications that can enhance your sermon and make it more engaging for your audience.
Research theological concepts and background information: Finally, ChatGPT can help you with research on theological concepts and background information. If you’re struggling to understand a particular doctrine or want to learn more about the historical context of a passage, input your question and let ChatGPT provide you with resources and insights that can deepen your understanding.
In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful tool that pastors can use to help streamline their sermon preparation process. It can help with generating ideas, gaining fresh perspectives, creating sermon outlines and main points, and researching theological concepts and background information. By using this AI language model, pastors can save time and energy while still delivering high-quality sermons to their congregations.
As the digital marketing landscape evolves, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT on pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is undeniable. Over the next two years, we can expect these cutting-edge technologies to transform how we approach PPC advertising, making it more efficient and data-driven. But as with any new tool, it's essential to recognize the potential pitfalls and use AI wisely to enhance our marketing efforts.
Embracing AI in PPC marketing opens up a world of possibilities, from optimizing campaigns to uncovering hidden opportunities. Here are three specific ways AI and ChatGPT can improve your PPC marketing strategy:
Bid Optimization: AI-powered tools can analyze vast amounts of data in real time, enabling marketers to make more informed decisions about their bid strategies. By leveraging AI, you can optimize bids for maximum ROI, ensuring your ads reach the right audience at the right time without overspending.
Ad Creation and Testing: ChatGPT can help create persuasive ad copy tailored to your target audience. By generating multiple variations of ad text, you can test different messages and headlines, identifying which resonates best with your audience. The more you refine your ads, the better your chances of driving conversions.
Keyword Research: AI can identify new, relevant keywords and negative keywords based on your target audience's search behavior. This insight can help you expand your campaigns and eliminate irrelevant traffic, improving the overall efficiency of your PPC marketing efforts.
But amidst the potential benefits of AI and ChatGPT, it's important to remember that technology is only as good as the humans who wield it. As PPC marketers, we must be cautious not to become overly reliant on AI, which could lead to a loss of creativity and genuine connection with our audience. Moreover, AI-generated content may occasionally miss the mark, so it's crucial to review and refine its output.
To ensure the best results, keep these considerations in mind:
- Always double-check AI-generated ad copy for accuracy and relevance, making sure it aligns with your brand voice and messaging.
- Don't neglect the human touch. While AI can provide valuable insights, it's essential to combine data-driven strategies with your unique understanding of your audience and market.
- Remember that AI is a tool to enhance your marketing efforts, not replace them. Use AI to streamline processes and optimize campaigns, but remain actively involved in decision-making.
In conclusion, AI and ChatGPT offer exciting opportunities to revolutionize PPC marketing in the coming years. By harnessing their power wisely and balancing their use with human expertise, we can create more effective and efficient PPC campaigns that drive better results for our clients.
Q. Do I need a new antenna for ATSC 3.0 signal?
A. No, all existing Digital HDTV OTA antennas are already capable of receiving ATSC 3.0 broadcasts. The number of stations you can receive will depend on various conditions like weather, your distance to the broadcast tower, and local geography. A more capable antenna might improve your reception.
Q. Is an internet connection necessary for ATSC 3.0?
A. Nope. Although ATSC 3.0 over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts are designed to complement content delivered via the Internet, you don't actually need an Internet connection. By simply using your antenna along with an ATSC 3.0 tuner, you can enjoy all the local stations broadcasting in this new format. However, to access some of the more exciting features of ATSC 3.0, like personalized ads, on-demand content, interactive options, and premium content, you'll need to connect to the internet.
It's important to note that ATSC 3.0 isn't set in stone and is still being actively developed. As a result, new features might be introduced at any moment. In such cases, your ATSC 3.0 tuner will need a software update, which will most likely necessitate an internet connection.
Q. Do I need to buy a new TV?
A. The simple answer is "nope." As mentioned earlier, if your TV doesn't support ATSC 3.0, you can still use an external converter box. However, these boxes might be difficult to find, especially in the beginning.
If you're looking to buy a new TV and want to ensure it's future-proof, several TV manufacturers, such as LG, Sony, Samsung, and now Hisense, offer ATSC 3.0-compatible TVs for the U.S. market.
LG, a company actively involved in ATSC 3.0's development, will provide ATSC 3.0 compatibility on both its G2 and Z2 OLED TV models. Hisense plans to include ATSC 3.0 on all its 2022 TVs, excluding the U6 series.
Q. Is there a guide to prepare for ATSC 3.0?
A. We found this info to be helpful - ATSC 3.0 Prep Guide
A. Yes, ATSC 3.0 broadcasts will be free-to-air, just like the current ATSC 1.0 standard. This means that you won't have to pay any subscription fees to watch over-the-air (OTA) television channels using an ATSC 3.0-compatible TV or external converter. However, keep in mind that this applies only to OTA broadcast channels, not cable or satellite channels.
The introduction of ATSC 3.0 could have some interesting effects on the cable and satellite industries. With the improved picture and audio quality, as well as mobile compatibility, some viewers may find that free-to-air ATSC 3.0 broadcasts are a good alternative to paid cable or satellite subscriptions. This could lead to a shift in the market as more people opt for OTA broadcasts, potentially driving cable and satellite providers to offer more competitive packages and services to retain their customer base.
However, it's important to remember that ATSC 3.0 won't replace cable and satellite entirely. These services still offer a wider range of channels, exclusive content, and additional features that OTA broadcasts may not provide. As a result, cable and satellite will continue to be attractive options for many viewers who are looking for more comprehensive television offerings.
In conclusion, while ATSC 3.0 is free-to-air and has the potential to impact cable and satellite providers, it's not likely to replace these services completely. Instead, it will provide another option for viewers to access high-quality TV content and may lead to increased competition and innovation in the television industry.
Q. Will dot (sub) channels be affected by ATSC 3.0?
A. Dot channels, also known as subchannels, will see some changes with ATSC 3.0. This new TV standard is like a cool upgrade for broadcast television. It's going to make the picture and sound quality better, the signal more reliable, and even offer some interactive features.
One great thing about ATSC 3.0 is that it lets TV stations fit more channels into the same space, so you might see even more dot channels than before. This is because the new technology uses smarter ways to squeeze video and audio into a smaller space without losing quality.
What's more, ATSC 3.0 supports super high-quality 4K video and amazing audio, so your favorite dot channels could look and sound better than ever. This might even attract more people to watch TV through an antenna instead of cable or satellite.
But, there's one important thing to know: with ATSC 3.0, you might need a new TV or an external tuner to keep watching those dot channels. The change won't happen overnight, but it's good to be aware that at some point, you might need new equipment to enjoy all the benefits of ATSC 3.0 and its impact on dot channels.
Q. How will ATSC 3.0 affect TV production and video content providers?
A. ATSC 3.0 is going to have a big impact on TV production and video content providers, and in a good way. This new standard is like a breath of fresh air for the broadcast TV world, and it's going to open up lots of fun possibilities.
For TV producers, ATSC 3.0 means they can create shows and movies with stunning 4K video and top-notch audio. This could make watching TV an even better experience, and it might get more people excited about tuning in. Plus, with the ability to broadcast more channels, producers might have more chances to get their content on the air.
As for video content providers, ATSC 3.0 could help them stand out from the crowd. By offering high-quality content with cool interactive features, they can give viewers something new and exciting to enjoy. People love trying out new stuff, so this could be a great way to attract an audience.
Also, ATSC 3.0 could help level the playing field between broadcast TV and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Since people can watch super high-quality TV for free over the air with an antenna, they might start to think twice about paying for cable or satellite.
So, to sum it up, ATSC 3.0 is going to shake things up in the world of TV production and video content providers. It's going to make TV look and sound better, offer more chances for content creators, and give viewers more reasons to watch. It's an exciting time for everyone involved!
Hey there, TV enthusiasts! Have you heard about ATSC 3.0, the latest and greatest development in television broadcasting technology? If not, you're in for a treat. Today, we're going to talk about ATSC 3.0, what it means for you, and how it's going to revolutionize the way you watch television. So, sit back, relax, and let's dive into the world of ATSC 3.0.
ATSC 3.0, or Advanced Television Systems Committee 3.0, is the newest version of TV broadcast standards that promises to take your viewing experience to a whole new level. It's been in development for quite some time, and now it's finally starting to roll out across the country. But what makes ATSC 3.0 so special? Let's break down the benefits for you.
First and foremost, picture quality is getting a significant upgrade. With ATSC 3.0, we're talking 4K UHD broadcasts, HDR, wide color gamut, and high frame rate. That means you'll enjoy crisper, more vibrant, and smoother visuals than ever before. Plus, it uses more efficient video codecs like H.265 HEVC, and it's designed to adapt to future codecs as they become available (hello, 8K!).
But that's not all! ATSC 3.0 also improves audio quality with the use of Dolby AC-4, which supports up to 7.1.4 channel audio and even Dolby Atmos. So, get ready for more immersive and dynamic soundscapes in your favorite shows and movies.
One of the coolest aspects of ATSC 3.0 is its focus on mobile compatibility. Imagine watching broadcast TV on your phone, tablet, or even in your car. Yep, that's right – ATSC 3.0 makes it possible, and it's just one more way this new technology is changing the game.
Now, you might be wondering how ATSC 3.0 will impact the broadcast television industry. Well, the answer is simple – it's going to make it better! With improved picture and audio quality, as well as mobile compatibility, we can expect to see more people tuning in to broadcast TV. Plus, the advanced geotargeting capabilities of ATSC 3.0 mean that you'll receive more relevant ads and emergency alerts, making for a more personalized and safer viewing experience.
Of course, there are a few downsides to consider. For one, ATSC 3.0 isn't backward compatible with ATSC 1.0, so you'll need a new TV or an external converter to take advantage of the new features. And while the targeted ads might be a plus for some, others might find them a little too invasive.
But overall, the benefits of ATSC 3.0 far outweigh the drawbacks. As it rolls out across the country, we're sure to see a new golden age of broadcast television, with better picture, sound, and overall user experience. So, get ready, TV lovers – the future of television is almost here!
In recent years, we've witnessed the transformative power of technology in virtually every aspect of our lives. Now, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is knocking on the doors of American churches, and it's essential for pastors, church leaders, and media directors to understand both the potential benefits and challenges this technology presents.
The Blessings of AI
AI offers many opportunities to enhance the church experience, particularly in the areas of personalization and efficiency. Imagine offering your congregation members personalized sermons, tailor-made to address their unique spiritual needs based on their prayers, reflections, or even their engagement with the church's online resources. AI can analyze this input and, using a vast library of sermons, create custom messages that resonate with each individual.
Church administration and community outreach can also benefit from AI technology. By analyzing data and recognizing patterns, AI can help optimize resource allocation, ensuring that every church member has an opportunity to participate in and contribute to various activities. It can also help churches identify those in need within their communities and beyond, providing timely support and assistance.
The Potential Pitfalls
Despite the numerous benefits, integrating AI into the church experience is not without risks. As pastors and church leaders, it's crucial to maintain the human touch that defines your spiritual community. Sermons crafted by AI, while potentially insightful, may lack the warmth and empathy that come from a pastor who truly knows their congregation.
Privacy and surveillance concerns are other potential issues. While AI can provide valuable insights into the spiritual well-being of your congregation, care must be taken to ensure that privacy is protected, and a culture of trust is maintained within the community.
Furthermore, AI algorithms, though designed by humans, can inadvertently perpetuate biases and prejudices, potentially creating an environment that alienates some members while favoring others. It's essential to be aware of these biases and work to mitigate their impact.
Navigating the Winds of Change
As AI continues to shape the future of the American church experience, pastors, church leaders, and media directors must strike a balance between harnessing its benefits and preserving the warmth, compassion, and fellowship that lie at the heart of their communities. By approaching this technological revolution with wisdom, discernment, and a commitment to ethical practices, you can help guide your congregation into a new era of spiritual growth and connection. Embrace the winds of change, but do so with caution and a deep respect for the timeless values that have sustained your faith community for generations.
Just a few years back, I found myself marveling at the magic of digital marketing, the way it seemed to have transformed the way we sell and promote products. Yet, as I sip my coffee today, I can't help but feel we're on the cusp of another revolution. It's as if the universe is whispering, "Hold my beverage, we're just getting started." Enter artificial intelligence (AI), the new game changer in digital marketing, and let me share a little story about how it will reshape the landscape over the next couple of years.
Once upon a time, not long ago, digital marketers were like modern-day gold miners, sifting through mountains of data, hoping to find that precious nugget of insight. They'd spend countless hours tracking customer behaviors, analyzing trends, and crafting the perfect marketing campaigns. But now, AI is stepping in as the all-knowing, ever-efficient assistant, making the gold rush seem like child's play.
Imagine a world where digital marketers can access a virtual crystal ball, one that can predict customer preferences and trends with astonishing accuracy. That's what AI-powered tools will do in the near future, making guesswork a thing of the past. With AI at the helm, marketers will deliver personalized messages to the right audience at the right time, creating an unprecedented level of engagement.
Moreover, picture the creative process of designing ads and social media posts being handled by a tireless, imaginative partner, one that never runs out of ideas or energy. That's AI, folks! By tapping into a vast repository of visuals, text, and data, AI can generate an endless stream of content, freeing up marketers to focus on strategy and bigger-picture thinking.
But what about the conversations we have with customers? Surely, humans will still hold the reins there, right? Well, not quite. AI chatbots are already becoming increasingly sophisticated, capable of handling complex customer interactions with ease. The next two years will see these digital conversationalists becoming virtually indistinguishable from their human counterparts.
As I finish my coffee and reflect on the future of digital marketing, I can't help but feel a mixture of awe and trepidation. AI's impact will undoubtedly create new opportunities, and with them, new challenges. But one thing is for sure: the world of digital marketing is about to become more efficient, more personalized, and more exciting than ever.
And so, my friends, let's raise our cups to the unfolding era of AI in digital marketing. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, "The times, they are a-changin'."
The Impact of AI and ChatGPT on Education: Harnessing the Power for Better Thinking and Reasoning, with Warnings for Students
In recent years, the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought forth a myriad of applications, from self-driving cars to AI-driven digital assistants like ChatGPT. As AI continues to progress, the realm of education is poised for a transformation that could greatly impact human thinking and reasoning. To harness the potential of AI, educators must be aware of both the benefits and potential pitfalls of using such technology, as well as convey important warnings to students about potential misuse.
One significant benefit of AI, particularly ChatGPT, is its ability to provide personalized learning experiences for students. By adapting to individual learning styles and preferences, AI can tailor educational content to meet the specific needs of each student. For instance, a student struggling with algebra could receive extra support through AI-generated examples and explanations, while another student excelling in the subject might be offered more challenging problems. This personalized approach fosters deeper understanding and reasoning skills, as students can progress at their own pace.
Additionally, AI can help develop critical thinking skills by offering students access to a wealth of diverse perspectives. AI-driven systems can analyze and synthesize vast amounts of information, presenting multiple viewpoints on any given topic. By engaging with these varied perspectives, students learn to question assumptions, weigh evidence, and make informed decisions—crucial skills for success in the modern world.
However, there are potential pitfalls when incorporating AI into education, and students should be aware of the risks associated with misuse. One common issue is using AI to generate homework answers or plagiarize content. Students must be reminded that education is about learning, and relying on AI-generated answers without understanding the underlying concepts can hinder their intellectual growth. Educators should emphasize the importance of academic integrity and the consequences of plagiarism, while fostering a learning environment that encourages genuine engagement with the material.
Another warning for students is the potential for AI to become a crutch, discouraging them from seeking help from human sources, such as teachers or peers. While AI can be a valuable resource, students should be encouraged to seek assistance from educators when they encounter difficulties, as human interaction and collaboration are vital for well-rounded learning.
In conclusion, AI and ChatGPT hold tremendous potential for enhancing education and fostering better thinking and reasoning skills among students. By providing personalized learning experiences and access to diverse perspectives, AI can help students develop crucial critical thinking abilities. However, educators must be cautious to avoid pitfalls such as over-reliance on AI-generated content and the perpetuation of biases, while also warning students about potential misuse. By using AI as a supplementary tool and promoting active engagement, we can harness the power of AI to create a brighter future for education.
One of the most significant ways that AI is already impacting video production is through automated video editing. AI-powered tools can analyze raw footage and automatically create edited videos that are more engaging and visually appealing. This enables video producers to work more efficiently and create higher-quality content in less time.
AI is also making an impact in the area of post-production. With the help of AI-powered tools, video producers can quickly and easily add special effects, adjust color grading, and create 3D animations. This means that even smaller production teams can create high-quality, professional-looking videos without the need for expensive equipment or extensive technical knowledge.
Another area where AI is expected to play a significant role in the coming years is in the creation of personalized content. By leveraging AI, video producers can create customized videos that are tailored to individual viewers' interests, preferences, and behaviors. This leads to higher engagement, increased viewer satisfaction, and ultimately, greater ROI.
AI is also making it easier to optimize videos for search engines and social media platforms. By analyzing data and identifying trends, AI-powered tools can help video producers create content that is more likely to be discovered and shared online.
Overall, the impact of AI on video production in the next two years is expected to be significant. While there are some concerns about the potential risks of AI-powered video production, the benefits are likely to far outweigh the risks. By leveraging AI to automate video editing, improve post-production, create personalized content, and optimize videos for search engines and social media, video producers can work more efficiently, create higher-quality content, and reach their target audience more effectively than ever before.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a broad field that covers the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and problem-solving. There are several subfields of AI, including Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).
ANI, also known as Weak AI, refers to systems that are designed to perform a specific task or solve a particular problem. For example, speech recognition software like Siri or Alexa is a form of ANI. These systems can only perform a limited range of tasks and cannot learn or adapt beyond their programming.
AGI, on the other hand, refers to a hypothetical system that would be capable of performing any intellectual task that a human can do. This includes reasoning, problem-solving, and learning, among other things. AGI systems would be much more versatile and adaptable than ANI systems, and would be able to learn and adapt beyond their programming. However, achieving AGI is still a long way off, and many experts believe that it may be decades before we see the development of a truly intelligent AGI system.
Examples of AI systems that exist today include chatbots, which are used to provide customer service or technical support, and recommendation engines, which are used by companies like Amazon and Netflix to provide personalized recommendations to customers based on their previous purchases or viewing history. Another example of AI is autonomous vehicles, which use machine learning algorithms to interpret sensory input and make decisions based on that input.
In conclusion, AI is a broad field that encompasses a range of technologies, including ANI and AGI. While ANI systems are already being used in many applications, achieving AGI is still a long way off. However, as technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more and more AI systems being developed and used in a variety of applications.
One of the most exciting areas where AI is making an impact is in data analysis. With the help of AI-powered tools and algorithms, marketers can quickly and accurately analyze large amounts of data, providing valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. This enables marketers to better understand their target audience and create more effective marketing strategies.
AI is also helping to make marketing more personalized than ever before. By leveraging AI, marketers can create highly customized and targeted campaigns that are tailored to individual customers' needs and preferences. This leads to higher engagement, increased customer loyalty, and ultimately, greater ROI.
Another area where AI is expected to play a significant role is in customer service and support. With the help of AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants, customers can receive quick and accurate responses to their inquiries, leading to improved customer satisfaction and reduced workload on human customer service representatives.
AI is also making an impact in content creation and curation. By using AI-powered tools, marketers can identify and curate relevant content, as well as generate content that is optimized for search engines and social media.
Overall, the impact of AI on marketing in the USA over the next three years is expected to be significant. While there are some concerns about the potential risks of AI-powered marketing, the benefits are likely to far outweigh the risks. By leveraging AI to analyze data, personalize campaigns, improve customer service, and create content, marketers can more effectively and efficiently reach their target audience than ever before.
"Debates over free speech ignore the deeper problem: The tech monopolies that control social media have built their profit model on burnt offerings to the digital platform god"
This is a rather profound article by Geoff Shullenberger.
A couple of excerpts -
"The conflicts taking place over freedom, justice, and other noble ideas are captive performances in the most technologically advanced human cockfighting enterprise ever designed—one that has converted the essence of human struggle into a sure-win bet for the tech platforms who play the house."
"Social media lowers the average user’s threshold for throwing the “first stone” by attaching rewards to this act when it is performed successfully."
Mom crafted a really fine cranberry sauce. Sweet but just right tart. Her Thanksgiving feasts were legend. Until a few years ago, an annual pilgrimage for her family.
This is her second bedfast Thanksgiving. At 95, mom has been in hospice care at sis’s home for nearly 18 months. She’s still with us in many ways. The important ones. And yet she’s slowly leaving too.
But, she’s still grateful.
And so are we.
Isn’t that something?
After quitting my first job at age 11, I quickly found a second one requiring a similar skill set...picking up trash. This time at a public swimming pool just a hundred yards or so south of the frozen custard stand. It didn’t pay as well, but I got to swim for free which was my main angle anyway.
An older husband and wife managed the pool. He was by training a chemist, a skill that was well used managing water quality in a pool with several hundred visitors on warm Western Pennsylvania summer days.
During my second summer there, 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Johnson. I had never seen any black people at the swimming pool, which was not something I noticed much, until that summer. The bill was signed on July 2, at the peak of the relatively short Pennsylvania swimming season.
Before that my older brother (my associate trash gatherer) and I had noticed a little army green index card box in the corner of the cage where people lined up to buy admission tickets to the pool. Being curious fellows, we tried to find out what was in the little box, especially after our first inquiries were rebuffed with a,”You don’t need to know.”
July 3 we got our question answered. A long line of people queued up to enjoy the pool for the holiday weekend. As we retrieved and emptied trash, preparing to open for the day, we noticed some abnormally tense activity from the boss and his wife running back and forth between the office (in a nearby house trailer) and the admissions cage. As we investigated further, we peered up the line of customers to see that there were five or six black people standing in line. The boss’s wife told my brother and I to go home because there might be some trouble. Equipped with that piece of intel, we of course decided to linger.
It turned out that the mysterious index card box contained the file of “members” who “belonged” to this private pool. Some of the whites in line, and all of the blacks, were turned away because they did not have a membership card in the green box. This was the first time we had ever seen this “membership” procedure invoked, and it was obvious to our junior high brains that this was somehow not right. This pool, which had been public to this day, was now suddenly a private club?
There was never any violence or threat of it. Most of the angst came from the white folks who were turned away in an attempt to legitimize the membership farce. Later that day, about five African-American men returned with a police escort. It might have been the sheriff and deputies, I can't remember. There was a meeting with the officers and the owners behind closed doors. We lurked at some distance to see what the outcome would be.
I'm not sure if they were presented with a court order, or simply had the new law explained to them, but in about 20 minutes they emerged from the trailer and, obviously agitated, instructed the people in the ticket cage to admit all paying customers. My brother and I scurried to secure a strategic reconaissance position outside the fence, near the deep end of the pool where we could observe the next phase of this developing drama. Some white customers left. A few demanded a refund. A few stood outside the chain link fence and offered their mindless insults. Most stayed.
But that July 3, the Junction Swimming Pool reluctantly joined the 20th century. One of the five black men who made local history that day was Elliott Wood. He was several years older than me, and we knew him and his mother from the church we attended. I don't know what has become of Elliott, but I remember his courage on that day. He did not simply slip softly into the crystal waters at the Junction, but instead marched out onto the low diving board. There he endured jeers from the fenceline idiots, before executing a passable dive that pierced the water with intention and finality.
The struggle was far from over, but another barrier had been broken. That Independence Day weekend was a marker of sorts for me. I began to question my own prejudices and the ideas from some family and friends I had formerly accepted. I learned a lot more than the backstroke at that job.
Thanks Elliott, wherever you are.
Two of the things I’ve tried to learn from the dozens of managers and leaders I’ve worked for or with over the years have been, (1) Behaviors that seemed to work well and produce good results, and (2) Behaviors that did not work so well...those that I would put on my “avoid” list.
I had my first boss when I was about 11 years old. He owned a frozen custard stand near our home, and I got a job cleaning up the parking lot twice each day for the handsome salary of $1 per day. He was a very intense, type A-squared sort of a guy, perhaps the reason he unfortunately died at a relatively young age.
After several months of getting up early before school to clean up from the previous night’s crowd and rushing home after school to do the afternoon clean up, I got tired of the grind. I decided to resign and when I went to my boss I said I was quitting because I couldn’t do the job any more.
Hank quickly corrected me saying, “You CAN do the job, you just don’t WANT to do the job, isn’t that right?” I sheepishly admitted he was right, and I probably had a flush of embarrassment. But to this day I can say that yes, he was indeed right.
He gave me a good lesson. Maybe a bit abrupt, but that was his way, and actually a trait I’ve come to appreciate more with time. He was forcing me to accept responsibility for my decision instead of pretending some outside forces were the culprit.
Taking responsibility. Still good advice for leader and follower.
“Did you communicate with the vendor about this problem?”
“I sent them an email.”
“Did you get a response?”
“Then the answer to my first question is no.”
Email has it’s place in our world, but we should never assume that sending an email, in itself, is communicating. To have communication, the loop must be closed.
Email is also not good for handling difficult situations that require confrontation or dealing with a sticky problem. For generic problems that have no emotions attached, email usually works fine.
But sometimes, you just need to pick up the phone or log in to Skype and have a vocal rather than text conversation.
Knowing when to say no to email and yes to talking is a key critical thinking skill these days.
Today, February 22, marks the anniversary of one of the great stories in sports history. Lake Placid, New York. The 1980 Winter Olympics. The Soviet National Hockey team. Team USA. And Coach Herb Brooks.
The US team consisted of 20 college players. It was a time when only amateurs could compete on US teams. The Russians, well, they were older, bigger, more talented and all around the best hockey team in the world. Yes, in the world. They had beaten the NHL All Stars 6-0 in the Challenge Cup one year earlier and had demolished Team USA 10-3 in an exhibition game just prior to the Olympics in Madison Square Garden.
For most baby boomers, singular memories include the assassination of JFK, the first man walking on the moon, and the USA/Soviet hockey game in the semifinals of the medal round in the 1980 Olympics. As a nation, the USA entered the new decade still mired in the malaise of Vietnam, Watergate, stagflation, and the Iran hostage crisis. There had been little to celebrate in the 70’s unless you were a Steelers fan.
Team USA had won Olympic gold only one other time, at Squaw Valley in 1960. Then a player, Herb Brooks found himself 21st on a roster of 20…the last man cut. A fierce competitor and a relentless coach, Herb drove his team physically and psychologically to this moment. Team USA skated brilliantly. Jim Craig was marvelous in goal.
Trailing 2-1 with seconds to go in the first period, Davey Christian took a desperate slap shot from 50 feet which the invincible Soviet goalie Tretiak kicked away. But much like Franco Harris and his Immaculate Reception, Mark Johnson had hustled through two defenders and planted the rebounding puck into the net with one second remaining. Suddenly those of us watching, indeed millions around the world, began to wonder if perhaps a miracle might be in the offing.
The Soviets led 3-2 after the second period, but Team USA was not retreating. With 8:39 remaining in the final period the Americans tied the game. And two minutes later, in the midst of a relentless attack against those they formerly regarded as hockey gods, Mike Eruzione guided the puck past a screen and into the Soviet goal for a 4-3 lead.
The next six minutes were beyond tense as everyone knew the Soviets still had time to tie, and yes even win this game. But it was not to be. As Brooks had told his team in the locker room before the game, “This is your time!”
As the final seconds ticked off, young sports commentator Al Michaels offered the question we would have shunned pre-game, “Do you believe in Miracles???” And as the clock struck zero, he, and we, shouted a resounding, “YES!!!”
How a young hockey team can turn the mood of an entire nation is hard to grasp, even harder if you weren’t there. But Americans began to believe in America again. Later that year they would elect a President who talked of a new “morning in America.”
In my view, that morning dawned February 22, 1980.
Here is the text from Herb Brooks locker room speech. Is now “your time?”
One game; if we played them ten times, they might win nine. But not this game, not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight we stay with them, and we shut them down because we can. Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world.
You were born to be hockey players - every one of you, and you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw 'em.
This is your time!
Now go out there and take it!"
Some time back I watched a TED video by Brene Brown. She was talking about raising children and how most parents are obsessed with trying to make their child’s life as easy and free from difficulty as possible.
It’s almost like we think a life that goes smoothly is the optimal life. Yet, Dr. Brown points out, children are born into this world “wired for struggle.” And while being alive and staying alive may not be the same struggle it was thousands of years ago, every human is faced with almost continuous struggles throughout life.
And this is normal.
So whatever your struggles are today, know this…you were born wired for struggle. You may not know how to sing, dance, paint, solve quadratic equations, program a mobile app, or pilot a missile-laden drone, but this you know inately…you know how to struggle. And you’ve been doing it since birth.
It seems that the nature of struggles often change over our lives. But if we realize that we were all born gifted for struggle, maybe it will add some hope and enjoyment to our journies.
Sometimes just a small tweak in perspective can produce a tidy dividend.
Growing up in the shadows of the smokestacks of the mammoth Pittsburgh steel industry, it seemed like there could be no end to the dominance of Jones & Laughlin, US Steel, Babcock and Wilcox, and their ilk. But they, and their stacks, and their smoke are seen no more along the rivers of Western Pennsylvania.
78 rpm vinyl records gave way to 45’s. Then LP’s. Then 8-tracks. Then cassettes. Then CD’s. Then mp3’s and other digital downloads. Now, music no longer requires a hard media at all. What became of those who produced the high tech of their day? They adapted, withered, or vanished.
And what of Eastman Kodak, Fotomat, and even MySpace? In 2006, MySpace was bought out for $580 million dollars. Then came Facebook. In 2011, MySpace sold for an estimated $35 million.
In recent years, having ravaged dozens of stalwart companies and destroyed entire industries, the gods of change began to focus on the publishing industry with one of their favorite weapons, technology.
The response from the industry was much like the other dinosaur industries of music and photography…”this too shall pass.” But it didn’t. It isn’t. And it won’t.
And so, publishers began to reluctantly adapt to digital technologies, but in essence, their best efforts have been to produce digital photocopies of the paper and ink variety of books. And charging a handsome fee to boot. Most are still missing the landscape of the new technology. And that is...interactivity.
With its iPad, Apple redefined the publishing business. The Kindle at that point was a good reader for the digital photocopies of print books that publishers were producing. But Apple laid out a new challenge to publishers to produce eBooks that were beautiful and aesthetic throughout. eBooks where there could be a mix of text, slides, maps, video, audio, - a panorama of media. And the biggest game changer of all, a book experience that is interactive.
While 64% of publishers are creating digital books, only 21% are actively creating these “enhanced” eBooks. And maybe the greatest change of perspective needed to avoid extinction will be for the book industry to realize they are no longer in the publishing business, but in the “experience” business.
The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on this phenomenon.
The change that is upon us is far more than the digitizing of text to be read on a screen that mimics the page of a hardback book. The entire experience of “reading” is changing. Reading is becoming much more than merely decoding text.
Your children and grandchildren will be profoundly affected by these changes in the way they consume knowledge. In the way they learn and think. And we will be as well.
What happens to education when the professor can be embedded in the textbook along with discussions among students unlimited by geography, links to other knowledge resources, notes from other readers…?
Pretty exciting, eh? It’s big. Perhaps the biggest thing since Gutenberg?
This video gives a glimpse of the impact of interactive eBooks on the curriculum of the future.